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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Prospect Park, July 21

(Photo credit - Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection)


Pleasant Sketches of the Farm House, Barn, Reservoir and the Woods -
How the Park Looks to Outsiders.

This morning's Tribune publishes the following appreciative and interesting sketch of a visit to Prospect Park:

A few moments on the ferry and the street cars and Prospect Park is reached, with its breathings of pure air and glimpses of pastoral beauty. Wandering in the shady paths, one sees little to remind him of an immense outlay of money.

The main entrance at the Grand Plaza, where stands the bronze statue of Lincoln, is but a short distance from Battle Hill, made historic by Revolutionary blood. Following the windings of the paths, the visitor passes through somber shadows of stately trees, through meadows in which the daises, buttercups, and clover are knee high, through narrow vales where lochs lie among the trees, calm as the Summer sky, and on shaded eminences from which the eye can range from the dim stretch of the ocean and the faint shore of Connecticut to the blue hills of New Jersey. On Lookout Hill a new reservoir has been completed which supplies the water for the pretty cascades which babble in the Ravine. The first of these gushes from the side of a hill as if its source were a mystery, and tumbles into a shadowy pond from which a brook runs quietly until it descends


dashing among the rocks and boulders, over which hang the leaves of trailing vines, and at length finds rest in the bosom of a lake.

On the edge of the ravine are the farm house and barn, both of which have been recently finished. The barn is built on the side of a hill, and is a picturesque wooden structure, containing stables for cows, mows for hay, tool-rooms, etc. The sides are shingled after the manner of old country houses of many years ago. in the meadow near by are two stacks of hay, which add not a little to the homeliness of the picture. The farm house is a pretty building a few steps from the barn. It is built of a handsome dark stone, rough hewn. At the west side is a small porch, and a large, old-fashioned chimney rises up from the ground. Between the two front gables is a piazza, and, above, a pretty window. A spire with is weathercock surmounts one of the roofs and a wooden chimney the other. In front is a door-yard, inclosed by a rude stone wall, which is well hidden by vines. The front of the house is also partially mantled by vines, The yard is


From the little porch at the west end of the house the visitor enters a long, spacious room, in which is a huge old-fashioned fireplace. The mantel is ornamented by large China vases, containing flowers. But for the counter, chairs, and tables, one could imagine it really a stately New England dining-room of the last century. From the large bay window at the south end is a fine view, through the gap of the Ravine, extending beyond the Narrows.

On the edge of the ravine hang several new rustic shelters, in which are pretty tables and seats. Following the path which leads through the hollow, the visitor passes under a new arch of fine Ohio stone, paneled in the interior with polished hard woods. In the edge of the Lullwater is a temporary music-stand which will be used until the erection of the pavilion at nearly the same spot. The place is well suited for the site; the rich sward is shaded by large trees. A little way to the south the meadow grass has been mowed and raked, and one gets a fragrant breath of the curing swaths of hay. A short distance from the Lullwater passing along the quiet Binninwater, in which float


is the Eastwood arch, the gables of which are richly mantled by vines. From here the walk back to the entrance Is very pleasant. A deep clump of woods is threaded by dark foot-paths, which at last lead out into the open green. All day these groves are musical with the notes of the shy wood warblers. Orioles, blue birds, robins and sparrows sing through the hours of morning and noon, and in the late afternoon the wood-thrush is heard, piping tender and plaintive symphonies which echo In the shadowy leaf-arched alcoves. A homeward walk, until one reaches the exit, can easily be dreamed away.

The newer part of the Park at the northwest corner is rapidly improving. The grand drive on the west side has been completed, making the whole circuit now in use a distance of five miles. Near the temporary bridge, which crosses an arm of the lake at the foot of Breeze Hill, is the projected site of the terrace, near which will will be the refectory, sort of hotel for refreshments, but of a more public character than the Farm House. On the east side of the Park an excavation of blue clay is making for paving the bottoms of the lakes.

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The preceding text was a column in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on July, 21, 1871. Note that the Brooklyn Bridge wouldn't open for another 12 years and that Prospect Park had only been open to the public for three years.

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